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Business News/ News / India/  Maharashtra: 17 lakh govt employees go on strike for Old Pension Scheme
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Maharashtra: 17 lakh govt employees go on strike for Old Pension Scheme

From sanitation workers to teachers, from paramedics at hospitals to other government staff, everyone has joined the strike for the implementation of the old pension scheme on Tuesday

Employees of Thane Civil Hospital go on an indefinite strike, demanding implementation of old pension scheme (HT PHOTO)Premium
Employees of Thane Civil Hospital go on an indefinite strike, demanding implementation of old pension scheme (HT PHOTO)

Lakhs of employees of the Maharashtra government went on strike on Tuesday seeking restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).

From sanitation workers to teachers, from paramedics at hospitals to other government staff, everyone has joined the strike for the implementation of the old pension scheme on Tuesday. The strike is happening when Class 10 and 12 board exams are underway.

Employees at various government departments in Maharashtra raised slogans like, "Only one mission, restore old pension".

The chorus to restore the old pension scheme across India has grown. While many non-BJP-ruled states have decided to restore the Old Pension Scheme for their employees, it is for the first time that such a large protest is visible where BJP and Shiv Sena are in power.

Under Old Pension Scheme (OPS), the pension amount is provided by the government, which increases its liability, whereas the NPS has a contributory mechanism from the employee as well as the government.

Earlier this month, the Central government allowed select employees to opt for OPS. The Ministry of Personnel in its order said that the employees who joined the central government services against posts advertised or notified before December 22, 2003, the day National Pension System (NPS) was notified, are eligible to join the old pension scheme under the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (now 2021).

The select group of government servants can opt for this option by August 31, 2023.

This month, government employees in Karnataka withdrew their indefinite strike after the state government announced a 17% hike in basic salary.

The employees had demanded interim relief of a 40% increase in basic salary and revision of salaries as per the 7th Pay Commission.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has extended its support for the restoration of OPS as its (Bhagwant Mann) government has done in Punjab. The Himachal Pradesh government has already restored the old pension scheme. Prior to this, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh governments have taken the same route.

Experts, including former RBI Governors, have raised caution for the introduction of the old pension scheme.

Former RBI Governor D Subbarao said, "That will be a decidedly regressive move both for our commitment to fiscal responsibility and more broadly for the credibility of our reforms".

Whereas another ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan suggested states find less costly ways to address the demands of government pensioners.

The state government that is taking the old pension route, has the view that this would bring social security and the welfare of their employees. However, economists see this as a trend that may bring disaster in the future as states are not going to build any corpus by doing this.

The OPS was discontinued by the NDA government in 2003 with effect from April 1, 2004.

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Published: 14 Mar 2023, 12:35 PM IST
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